Children - Special Needs Community
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Avatar universal

Autism,ADHD or SPD

My son is 4 1/2 years old. At 6 months old he was dianosed w/ torticollis (head tilt) and got PT for that. He met all his mile stones with in the appropriate time frame (having 2 other kids i see he was on the later end then my other 2) when he became somewhat mobile he started to rock in his crib (on all 4's) and make a humming noise. we thought it was cute/funny b/c  his crib would bang against the wall. I mentioned to his ped and he said it was a self soothing technique,not to worry. As he got older at each Md visit I mentioned I was concerned about his speech. According to his ped he was developing fine b/c he was putting words together etc.. Still all along he continues to rock but now it's just while watching tv on our couch. he's always made great eye contact,lovable,very social although i notice he does better w/ kids 1-2 years younger.great imagination,plays imaginary play.tons of energy,and can be easily distracted (at times) at 3 i attempted to enroll him in a regular preschool. well, he did not do well. he got frustrated,refused to sit at circle,had tantrums and even hit other kids and the teachers. i had him evaled by the sped preschool program in my town. they found him to have a moderate language delay (after my ped kept telling me his speech was fine,ugh) he was put on an iep plan and put in school w/ all sped kids. once they got to know him they also found that he had some sensory issues..he seeks out sensory stimuli (examples:banging toys,jumping,touching,loves to swing,went thru' a phase he loved the sound of the toliet flushing) and at times avoid stimulis like some auditory (kids singing,Happy bday song,maybe a language thing??) i must say his sensory issues seem to come out a lot more at school. i'm told this is normal b/c of all the stimulation at school. This year (2nd year of preschool) he got moved up to the intergrated program (it's a role model program w/ 1/2 "normally developing" kids and 1/2 w/ services.. What a difference this year. He has made leaps and bounds. His speech/language has improved greatly. At school they have made a "sensory diet" environment for him and he does well. He sit the whole time at circle,plays w/ the other kids and is exceling. The school has never mentioned autism to me, at the ped office i was given a sheet to fill out w/ questions about autism/child and the need for futher evaluation, but according to this there was no need for futher eval..My concern is that he still does on occasion these quirky sensory "stims" ( i think that is what u call it) rocking while watching tv,he jumps a lot,rubs his hands up and down his leg making a humming noise,claps at times and now the new one i notice he has on OCCASION done that hand flap thing (when he's really excited or mad) I've done so much googling and to me it sounds like ADHD,autism and sensory processing disorder are similiar in a lot of ways. I know that my son has language delays/ sensory processing disorder (and wouldn't be surprised if one day diagnosed w/ adhd) Now I'm concerned if in fact he is mildly autistic. It's hard b/c I've read kids w/ sensory processing disorder have many symptoms of autism and can be misdiagnosed w/ autism.does anyone have experience w/ this? should i have him tested? Being on an IEP plan, w/ sped teachers I would think they'd mention or atleast push me in that direction to have him tested?? Being new to all this it's so confusing so any input would be great..
4 Responses
127529 tn?1331844380
MMmmm, I am going through a similar thing with my 3 year old (you may want to read my post).
My son has problems with social interactions, imaginary play echolaic speech and repetitive self stim behaviours and they are telling me if he does have autism it is on the milder end of the scale. The things you have described all sound consistent with sensory dissorder but as you say the symptoms can be so similar. Maybe visit your family doctor, voice your concerns and ask for a referal for testing.
Avatar universal
I would go ahead and have an evaluation done.  Sensory Integration Disorder is a catch all phrase for kids with behaviors that are indicative of things ranging from ADHD to Anxiety to things on the Autism Spectrum (which is a huge range of things in itself).  We just met with our sons pediatrician this morning and she stated that she still doesn't now what SID really is.  I've had a couple of Psychologists provide similar inputs in terms of the diagnosis.  All however agree that the treatments being provided based on SID findings by OT's and educational experts are very beneficial - so they don't split hairs on whether it's a separate disorder or not.  

The one thing I would add is that things kids are not static.  We had our son evaluated at 4 years 9 months.  Only minor things were found.  He has made progress in some areas since then we still have some concerns.  He is now 6 and we are pursuing further evaluation for his anxiety, energy and stimming.  Our pediatrician actually told us that 4 years 9 months was probably too young to really get a complete read on him.    My sense is that these things ebb and flow over time - generally improving with age - and certainly with effort.  
Avatar universal
if you don't mind me asking, what minor things did they find w/ your son?

I thought my sons SPD was minor but he has language/comprehension delays too..They think it b/c his SPD? His teacher today even said he was a "puzzle"..Have appointment w/ neurologist (can't get in till Jan.,ugh) out of Childrens..Maybe we'll get some answers..In the mean time he gets his speech and OT...
Avatar universal
My son had fine motor delays and not much else.  He also had some minor vistigial (core balance I think) issues.  We've addressed the fine motor side with OT.  

Lately his stimming behavior and energy levels have been going up.  We too are taking him for a neurology exam in Jan (2 month wait).  I share your frustration on the wait.  If there is something physiologically wrong, the sensible thing to me would be to shoot first (as in take CT pictures) and ask questions later.  It seem like our wonderful medical system is set up to work in the opposite fashion.  
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